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Ring, Christmas Bells, Merrily ring...

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours ringing a bell in front of Wally World for the Salvation Army, as a service project of my Rotary club.  We have a friendly competition with our civic club bretheren the Lions and Kiwanis for bragging rights about who raised the most for the Salvation Army via the kettles.  The Lions, being the largest of all of us, usually pull more shifts and win.  And I suspect they stuff the kettle, too.  Win-win for the Salvation Army.  I know the only time Rotary won we stuffed the kettle ourselves.

I should have done it on Friday, when it was balmy, but I pulled a wind-blown cold Saturday shift.  In my wool capote (bought for just this duty) I looked like Santa's Body Double.  In truth, I find the bell-ringing grating on a personal level, my hearing sucks, but those dang bells get through...  I've always disliked it, yet there I am, being an enabler...  But you get to do a *lot* of people watching.  And since our kettles are in front of Wal-Mart, you get *interesting* people to watch, rather than the crowd you'd find going to a Dillards or somesuch.

*Simply amazing* the lengths some people will go to in order not to make eye contact with me at the kettle. Hilarious. Talking (or pretending to talk) on their cell while with the other hand holding up a finger in the "Just a moment" gesture as they go in the door...  wonder what they did when they went out the other door, because we have a kettle there, too!  Honestly, we really don't judge you for not giving.  At any given moment people have perfectly valid reasons for not being able or not wanting to give.  I personally just assume you gave somewhere else and you get a "Merry Christmas!" anyway.

We're not keeping score on you.  So, dude who came up to my door and backpedaled to go to the other door and realized there was a kettle there, too... you really didn't need to wait in the cold for 5 minutes or so, so that you could slip in with the group of 5 people (one of whom did give) and try to stealth in.  Honest.  Just say "Hello!" or, "Howyadoon?" or nothing and go on in the store.  We're not tracking your habits (unless, as in your case, they're frankly amusing).

Best moment: Mom sends son to kettle with money for it. Kid digs into his own pocket, pulls out some silver, and puts it in, vice the $5 his Mom gave him. Gives Mom the $5 back and says, "I wanted to give my *own* money!"

I like that kid.

Mom kept her $5.  I think she was flustered and embarassed.

Snerk. Best $4.75 that the Salvation Army ever lost. I made good on it for her. I've got plenty of time left in Purgatory to work off!


Thank you!  But most of all Thank You for saying Merry Christmas!
I take it your bell ringing was nothing like this:

But, thanks for taking St. James to heart.
 I try to give at every store that has a ringer. We usually give it to the grandkids and stand by while they do it. We always talk with the ringers. If I were able to stand couple hours at a time (my back and hips won't allow it anymore) I'd be out there too.

Stuffing the kettle? I guess if you have to do that to beat those nasty Lions then it's worth it. I know SA appreciates the competition too :-)
I must find one manned by a Rotarian and put something in. My Dad was a Paul Harris Fellow.  Blood is thicker than water, you know.
Lions would NEVER cheat to win at something. They are stouthearted and true and never have a bad word to say about anyone - except maybe those Rotarian people.

Oh, did I mention I'm a Lion?

Actually in our club we have a few crossovers, people who are both. When one of them mentions their other affiliation everyone gives them the raspberry and our Lion Tamer (who is also a Rotarian) jumps up to fine them - all in good fun.

Around here it's a friendly rivalry with most of the competition being who can do the most good, which ends up helping the community. I think everyone benefits from being a member of a service club and encourange anyone who isn't a member of one or another of the clubs to get in touch with a Lion, Rotarian, Kiwanis, Optimist or whatever club is handiest to see about joining up.

As the Am Ex commercial says: "Membership has its privileges." One of those is the great feeling you get from doing something to help others, which is very satisfying.

Good on ya John, keep up the good work - even if you are a dreaded Rotarian.
Heh.  Here we make Lions Paul Harris Fellows just to cause them grief with the Lion Tamer.  Get their picture in the paper at a Rotary meeting being honored by Rotarians.  The fine is pretty severe, I hear.

During PETs (President-Elect Training) prepping for my year as club prez, I met a woman from one of our clubs in the western part of the district who was going to be president of her Rotary club *and* the Head Lion.

More power to her.
No bell-ringers over here, Lion, Rotarian, Elk, or otherwise.

'Course, there's no Wally-Mart, either -- but there *is* cold...
What?  It's cold in the Land of Fire?
No fire yet, but I'm fixing to start one. Temp in the hootch is 58F...
Bill, If you get down here to Camp Dubs, there is Wahlid World, right across from Best Buy and Kay Jewlers